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Olympus TG-6 Dive Review

Excellent underwater photography on a budget!


By Jim Lyle, OOS Customer

The TG 6 is the latest version of the popular Olympus “tough” series of cameras.  While not a huge upgrade from the TG 5, the TG 6 does have some improvements that add to its versatility underwater.


We just spent three weeks in Cozumel, Mexico where I was able to play with the camera in warm, clear water.  I’m impressed!  There are a lot of detailed reviews of this camera available on the web so I won’t repeat what most of them say, just share with you my experiences and the settings I used.


The TG 6 is waterproof to a depth of 50 feet.   I highly recommend an underwater housing to further protect the camera, such as the Olympus PT-059.  If the housing leaks, the camera should protect itself under most circumstances - double insurance.  Housings are available from a number of manufacturers.


You can take excellent macro images using the camera’s internal flash but any images taken from further away will have an unattractive cyan cast.  If you want better pictures you must add a strobe or two.  (While strobes are expensive, they don’t go out of style like cameras and housings.)  I use dual Sea and Sea YS D1 strobes.  TTL is supported but manual flash @ 1/64 will save battery power and allow for faster shooting; it’s up to you.


For the “point and shoot” crowd, TG 6 has several “fish” modes: shallow waters, underwater wide, underwater macro, and underwater microscope; these produce excellent results.  If you want to improve on the camera’s abilities explore other options and settings.

Tips

  • I recommend aperture priority with a couple of tweaks for underwater shooting.  Set aperture at f8 and leaving it there.  Once you have set up A priority, you can then save your settings to one of two custom modes, C1 or C2.  Use C1 for macro and C2 for other situations.  It’s easy to switch back and forth between the two using the mode dial.
  • Images can be saved as RAW, RAW + jpeg, or jpeg.  Personally, I default to jpeg, however shooting in RAW allows for lots of options to edit later.
  • White balance. Automatic WB works just fine but you can adjust for white balance at depth or post edit RAW files.
  • Setting the EV to -2 will give you nice dark blue background water under most conditions.
  • Make sure you turn off the gps and wifi; they don't work underwate and they eat battery storage!
  • You can shoot 4K video with this camera.  I must confess I’m not a videographer.

You will want to explore some of the additional features such as focus lock, “pro capture,” and exposure tools such as a histogram and highlight/shadow displays.  The TG 6 rivals many more expensive cameras in its features.


For truly wonderful wide angle images you will want a WA lens adapter.  I am very impressed with the WA results.


Conclusion?  This is a great camera for the underwater photographer at a reasonable price break.  It’s so good that I may downgrade from my Olympus EM5 or at the very least carry it as backup on future dive vacations.


Differences Between the Olympus TG-5 and New TG-6 Cameras

Olympus's new Tough TG-6 is an update to its popular Tough line-up with many refinements and additions for macro and underwater photography.

Although the sensor and MP count remains the same, an anti-reflective coating to the glass surrounding was added to the sensor, to reduce flare and ghosting.

The TG-6 continues it's previous tough design and footprint, and is shock, freeze, drop and waterproof to 50'. It even fits the existing TG-5 housings, although Olympus has an updated PT-59 housing out as well.

Improvements also include a much improved higher resolution view screen LCD with 1.04 million dots, compared to 460k dots on the TG-5.

The microscope mode now has the ability to enlarge the subject by over 44x with a minimum focus distance of an incredible 1cm! Microscope mode can be now used in program and aperture priority mode. The camera offers both focus stacking (now with a selectable range of shots) and focus bracketing.

Improvements continue for underwater use; there are new underwater microscope modes, along with new white balance options for shallow, midrange and deep water shooting.

Optical Ocean Sales has the new Olympus Tough TG-6, PT-59 housings and a wide range of packages available and in stock!

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